Opponents of a scheme to close down a portion of Memorial Drive during Sundays in August are demanding that the plan be debated publicly.
After receiving a deluge of angry calls and emails from Calgarians, a group of four aldermen have drafted a motion to scuttle plans to turn half of the busy thoroughfare into a pedestrian playground.
Ald. Joe Connelly, who yesterday submitted the motion that will come forward to the May 11 council meeting, said people are miffed over plans to close the south lanes of Memorial for four Sundays in August, which almost skirted past council’s radar with no discussion.
“Maybe there is a middle ground and that’s why we need to put this on the table and give people a chance to comment about this,” he said.
“I think there are viable alternatives that exist so why would we inconvenience Calgarians?”
Hoping to mirror the success of other cities that have closed major riverside roadways on weekends, city staff and area Ald. Druh Farrell had been pushing the plan to close off Memorial Drive between 3 Street and 10 Street SW in hopes of attracting weekend revellers.
The inner city alderman said a compromise is now being cooked up by the nearby Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association to have the closure on only one Sunday to hold a public event.
But Farrell noted the degree to which some of her council colleagues have opposed the road closure has her wondering what the true motive is.
“The hyberbole is extraordinary — it’s a tempest in a teapot,” she said.
“We already close over 200 roads for events every year so what would be different about this one?”
Farrell noted full closures of 17 Avenue SW for Red Mile functions and 17 Avenue SE for GlobalFest are far more inconvenient, so closing half a roadway for one day during the slowest time of year shouldn’t be a problem.